New Ships, Vehicles for Italy Amid Cuts
ROME — As provisional Italian Defense Ministry spending drops in 2015, planners are getting some relief as cash from the country's Industry Ministry will be used to pay for new ships, armored vehicles and satellites.
One measure concerns the purchase of 381 Freccia armored vehicles, which are built by an all-Italian consortium of Iveco and Finmeccanica unit Oto Melara. Defense commission documents seen by Defense News listed the cost at €2.65 billion, with acquisitions spread until 2024.
The second program being discussed by the commission is the so-called Naval Law, a massive, multiyear funding package for a range of ships, pushed by the Navy as a large number of vessels head for obsolescence. Following likely approval by the commission, the funding will require approval from Italy's audit court, stretching out a bureaucratic procedure that planners hoped would be wrapped up last month.
Again, the Industry Ministry will foot the bill, which commission documents put at €5.4 billion to be released over two decades, until 2035. That money will be used to repay, with interest, loans raised totaling €3.829 billion to cover acquisitions, starting with six multifunctional ships costing €436.7 million each, to built by 2029.
Next on the list is a logistics vessel worth €325 million, to be delivered by 2018, followed by a landing helicopter dock ship, priced at €844 million, for delivery in 2018. Also funded are two high speed special forces vessels priced at €20 million each.
The MoD provisional budget document also lists a handful of new research programs that could lead to procurements. Research work on a new "exploration and escort" helicopter is listed, as is the study and development of a new tilt-rotor aircraft.